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Falling Down: Angels 3, Royals 1 (34-64)

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Here we go again, back to 30 games below .500 at 34-64. I guess you take a split with the Angels -- a definitively mediocre team with a big payroll and motivation to keep trying -- at this stage in the game, but to go W,W,L,L is the hollowest kind of success. Not that this stuff matters to anyone, but if the Royals had pulled off the last two games of this series, they'd have sat at 23-23 at home, as opposed to the current mark of 21-25.

The "game notes" in the extended AP story mentioned that the Royals have drawn 133 walks in their last 30 games, which is fairly cool. All that walking has lifted the team's OBP to .330, good for a three-way tie for 21st in baseball. Of course, with a world-worst 73 homers, the Royals mainfest only half of the Take & Rake formula for success.

In other randomness, the 3-1 loss Sunday was the Royals' 17th 2-run game of the season, moving their mark to 6-11. The Royals are 10-17 in 1-run games and 4-8 in 3-run games. In 4-run games you ask? 5-6. The Royals don't have a winning record in any type of game, save a 1-1 mark in 10-run contests. All of this is slightly meaningless, even to a true scribe like SI.com's Jenn Sterger.

Moving along... thanks to his scoreless 2006 thus far, Mike MacDougal is now already 9th on the team in pitching VORP (value above replacement level), just behind newbie Todd Wellemeyer (Mac's at 2.7, Welle at 3.1). The team leader? All-Star Mark Redman of course. He's been a whopping 10.8 runs better than a replacement level pitcher. Whats a "replacement level pitcher" you ask? I dunno... someone like Bobby Keppel (2.0 VORP), Seth Etherton (-3.9 VORP), Stephen Stemle (-6.1 VORP) or Mike Wood (-6.5 VORP). Some guys are so bad their markedly below replacement level, like, say, Joe Mays (-16.9 VORP). That level of performance is something akin to taking a college final and doing so poorly they send you back to 10th grade.

You can put this in the Hmmm... This Doesn't Fit the AM-Radio Discourse File. In 2006 we're seeing 1.112 homers per game, a higher level than in 2002, 2003 or 2005. Runs are being scored at a nigher rate than in any season in the last five. So I guess its a good thing we've labelled the past "The Steroid-Era" huh? Our sacred national interest was lost, but now its returned.

Where have you gone Joe Mays? The hitters of the American League turn their lonely eyes to you.

Lastly, the Royals are averaging 17,791 fans at the K this season, just barely good for 28th "best" in baseball. The Royals are quite a bit behind the next closest team, the A's 22,527 per), but should easily stay ahead of the Marlins measley 12,563 average (which is Montreal in the Selig Extortion Era territory). Still, with the Opening Day sellout and the Cardinals series getting more distant, that average should keep dropping all season. To be honest, I have no problem with the low attendance. For non-tourist destination teams, attendance should be a function of winning. A bad product and a worse owner shouldn't be rewarded simply for existing. In 2003 the Royals weren't even particularly good, yet they still managed a 22,819 average...

Umm, then again, I'm not sure how this hardcore market capitalism approach applies when the team is already getting tax dollars, regardless of how they spend them. I'll have to think about that one for awhile.